Nicole Atkins Gig at The Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell

Nicole Atkins at The Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell, London

I came to Nicole Atkins late, via David Byrne Radio in 2008, and she’s been on my playlist ever since. Born Neptune, New Jersey, did the usual elliptical, formative stuff, formed Nicole Atkins & The Sea, released a terrific debut album, Neptune City, produced by Tore Johansson, in late 2007, subsequent parting of the ways with Columbia and others, another album, Mondo Amore, and this unplugged gig in rainy Clerkenwell.

Downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb is a dark, airless place and I didn’t see her appear out of the gloom until she plugged her acoustic guitar into the PA on the small patch of leopard-patterned carpet that was the performance area. After the overflowing orchestration of Neptune City and the raw, swampy Mondo Amore, could just a girl with a guitar still slay us?

Read the review and view the gallery at

Nicole Atkins live at The Slaughtered Lamb, 34-35 Great Sutton Street EC1V 0DX
9th May 2012. Photos and Words: © Ken Sparkes. All Rights Reserved

A Flickr Alternative? 500px Review

Bennison Fabrics calendar by Ken Sparkes on

It never rains but it pours, or so it seems. I have used Flickr as an online scrapbook for many years but Yahoo, who own and run Flickr, seem to be have left their prime photo site out in the rain recently and it can’t communicate with PayPal for Pro account renewals. That means all but the most recent photos have disappeared, including photos linked to Bennison email campaigns and any links to sets or collections I’ve emailed to friends, colleagues or clients. Apparently they are still there, but we can only find them by searching for the right keywords. ‘Oh well, plenty more fish in the sea’, I hissed, and went in search of an alternative.

500px was founded by photography fanatics Ian Sobolev, Oleg Gutsol and Evgeny Tchebotarev and looks very much like a site for people who take photography seriously. The site is attractive, is easy to use. It lacks many of Flickr’s bells and whistles and currently has only a few integrations, so probably kinder to people with time-management failings. I uploaded a few photos to see how the portfolio section worked, linked my profile, tinkered with the settings, logged out and went to do some proper work.

My GMail notifier started flashing. I had mail. Lots of it. This rain-swept umbrella picture had 11,500 views, 42 pages of votes and comments, and became Editor’s Choice soon after. The 500px community is enthusiastic, engaged, active and there are some very good photographers on there…

Read the rest of the 500px mini-review on

Words & Photo: © 2011 Ken Sparkes. All Rights Reserved.